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IDF Poised at Gaza Border, Braced for Iran Attack as US Warns Americans to Stay Near Israeli Cities

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JERUSALEM, Israel – As the war in Gaza continues, Israel is on high alert, expecting a retaliatory attack from Iran, perhaps soon.

Touring an Israeli air force base, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Thursday the military is ready for fights in other areas as well as Gaza.

"We are in the middle of the war in Gaza which continues in full force; at the same time we continue our non-stop efforts to return our hostages, but we are also preparing for scenarios of challenges from other arenas," Netanyahu said.

He added, "We established a simple principle – whoever hurts us, we hurt him. We are preparing to meet the security needs of the State of Israel both in defense and (offense) in attack."

Israel Defense Forces Spokesman Daniel Hagari cautioned that if Iran does attack, it's proof they intend to escalate the fighting in the Middle East.

Hagari declared, "In the last few months, we have improved and advanced our offensive capabilities and we will know how to act where needed."

Iran is promising to retaliate for what is widely believed was an Israeli air strike destroying Iran's consulate in Damascus and killing top Iranian military commanders.

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Middle East analyst Yigal Carmon told CBN News Tehran has a "mega plan" to bring the Middle East under Shi'ite Iranian hegemony through the use of proxies, and it won't be distracted by the bombing.

"Their immediate target is the Kingdom of Jordan," Carmon explained. "They go for the big thing. The big thing is to cause demonstrations that will remove the king of Jordan."

Carmon added, "If they succeed, (it) will be an immensely devastating blow to Israel – to have a border of 500 kilometers (300 miles) on the other side to have militias like in Iraq."

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While the Iran threat looms, the State Department is warning its staffers here in Israel to limit their travel to areas around Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and the southern city of Beersheba.

The U.S. is promising to back Israel if Iran attacks, and the top military commander for the Middle East region is in Israel to coordinate with the Israeli military.

Rear Admiral Hagari insisted, "Our strategic relationship with the United States military is strong and close."

While most Israeli troops have withdrawn for now from the Gaza Strip, tough fighting continues in the Netazarim Corridor that cuts across the middle of Gaza.

"The goal of the operation is, of course, to destroy Hamas' ability to rehabilitate itself in the area," Hagari said.

Meanwhile, various Israeli analysts warn top Gaza Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar is hoping Hamas will survive, and even win.

They suggest Sinwar believes President Joe Biden's opposition to some of Israel's moves in Gaza, as well as political division in the Jewish state is breaking down the Israeli public's will to win the war with Hamas.


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About The Author

Julie Stahl

Julie Stahl is a correspondent for CBN News in the Middle East. A Hebrew speaker, she has been covering news in Israel fulltime for more than 20 years. Julie’s life as a journalist has been intertwined with CBN – first as a graduate student in Journalism; then as a journalist with Middle East Television (METV) when it was owned by CBN from 1989-91; and now with the Middle East Bureau of CBN News in Jerusalem since 2009. As a correspondent for CBN News, Julie has covered Israel’s wars with Gaza, rocket attacks on Israeli communities, stories on the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria and